Large Study Confirms BPA-Thyroid Function Link

C-Monster/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/arte/3846695065/sizes/l/in/photostream/">Flickr</a>

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University of Michigan researchers conducted a large-scale, human study that’s found exposure to chemicals found in household plastics—Bisephenol-A (BPA) and phthalates—reduces thyroid function, confirming the findings of many smaller studies. Lead researcher John Meeker found that the more BPA and phthalates that were in people’s bodies, the more likely they were to show impaired thyroid function. People who who showed the highest 20% of exposure also showed up to 10% more thyroid function impairment than those with the 20% lowest exposure.

Researchers specifically looked into a few specific phthalates often found in PVC piping, hospital IV tubes, and milks and cheeses and found a “significant” relationship between them and the body’s level of thyroxine, a metabolism-regulating hormone made in the thyroid. If someone’s thyroid makes too much thyroxine, they can get hyperthyroidism: too little, hypothyroidism. The new study found that the more phthalates people had in their systems, the less thyroxine they were producing. The same relationship was true of BPA, which is of concern since BPA is impossible to avoid: it’s in CDs, receipts, water bottles, even the food we eat and the water we drink. It’s found in 93% of Americans, including newborns and nursing mothers.

Like nearly every scientist, those involved with this new report out of Michigan caution that more study is needed on the subject. But it seems like if the relationship between increased levels of BPA and phthalates and reduced thyroid function isn’t causative, it is at very least correlative. And just because this is the first large-scale study to show that BPA and other chemicals are compromising our bodies’ ability to regulate themselves, it certainly doesn’t mean it’ll be the last.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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